A Bit of T L C - Part 4 Back to Nature

Khao Yai National Park, Thailand November 2023

After towns, temples and tuk tuks, we were in the mood for a bit of flora and fauna, so we boarded the train once again, for Pak Chong (or as I kept calling it, “Pak Choy”) – actually very similar, both good for stir fries, but pretty bland!  This busy gateway town was our base for a couple of days exploring the UNESCO World Heritage site and oldest national park in Thailand, Khao Yai.

The only elephant to be seen

A quick turnaround at our corporate but clean hotel, and we were off to join an afternoon tour just outside the park itself.  Accompanying us were a jovial group of young French students, who spoke good English and were great fun.  First stop was for a refreshing dip at a natural spring, where I took the plunge, unfortunately forgetting to remove my hearing aids (not a good idea!).  Continuing on to another underground cave, home to dozens of bats and spiders and a silent retreat for the monks who had built a small shrine amongst the stalagmites and stalactites.  My faulty hearing aid had rendered me as deaf as a post, so it was even more silent for me!

A refreshing dip

The final treat of the day was witnessing what seemed like millions of bats leaving their cave for their nighttime hunt.  Our guide, Joe, was a keen astronomer and so we were also offered a great view of the moon and planets through his telephoto lens.

Like bats out of hell

The following day we were disappointed to be grouped together with “the oldies”, who we managed to converse with using our bad French and their reasonable English.  Ian was happy that at last, finally…he might be able to use one of the first phrases he learnt in French class at school – “Le singe est dans l’arbre” (the monkey is in the tree)! As it happened, we did see lots of white handed gibbons, horn bills, macaques, sambar deer, monitor lizards, spiders, butterflies and many different bird species. We even saw a cobra swimming in the river, which was quite exciting. Unfortunately, the elephants were hiding but we did spot a couple of huge porcupines waddling around in the forest. Our guide was again at hand with his telephoto lens so we had some great close-up views.

The youngest swinger in town

The journey home saw me piling on the layers as the evening had turned quite cool and coupled with the wind-chill factor as we were swept along in the back of the truck.  I think this was the coldest I had ever been in Thailand, except when Ian wins the air-conditioning battle!

A lizard lounging

We discovered that the Pak Chong rush hour was similar to the London rush hour, in that you couldn’t get a taxi for love nor money.  We made our train the next morning with seconds to spare, and had to slum it in third class (no a/c!) with the French kids!  We’d decided to break our long journey north with an overnight stay back in Ayutthaya.  Having already done the sights, we settled for a meal at a restaurant overlooking the river and a cocktail at the British sounding (it wasn’t) Brown Ale Bar before turning in for an early night.



Next Stop:  Suffering Sukhothai…

More photos!…

Bat cave buddha
false scorpion - looked real enough to me!
Who's a pretty boy then?
Pretty flutterby
Sleeping viper...shhhh...
Spot the spider
Cheeky capuchin
He's behind you!
The waterfall featured in the film "The Beach" - no sign of Leonardo though
...or you'll get no pudding!
How on earth do they manage to mate??
Yes, alright...I know it's nearly Christmas!
Cheesy "Wotsits" came in all the colours of the rainbow here!
Buddha from the bus - 1
Buddha from the bus - 2

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